Certified Health Claims for Virgin Coconut Oil
("The Cocommunity" - Monthly APCC Newsletter
Volume 43, Series No. 5, 1 May 2013)
article which is also published in this Newsletter (please
see on page 8) has indicated that the Government of Philippines
is pushing for the removal of the phrase “no approved
therapeutic claims” in Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) product
labels after a clinical study and similar studies have proved
that VCO increases good cholesterol.
The article states that “the Philippine Coconut Authority
(PCA) has requested the Philippine Bureau of Agricultural
and Fishery Product Standards (BAFPS) to allow the producers
of VCO to remove the phrase “no approved therapeutic
claims” from the PCA certified VCO products, said the
Agriculture Department in a statement.
It may be noted that in February 2012, a team of scientists
and medical doctors from the University of Santo Tomas (UST)
Research Center in Manila, Philippines presented to the public
and journalists the results of a Clinical Study which they
have conducted on the Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)
on the Human Body.
The study was the largest clinical research ever undertaken
on the effects of VCO on cholesterol levels in the country.
The UST Research Team was led by Dr. Christina Binag of the
UST Research Center for Natural and Applied Science based
in Manila, Philippines. The study was commissioned by the
Philippine Coconut Authority and involved 110 participants
who took 3 tablespoons of VCO every day for 4 months while
79 others had a placebo treatment for the same period.
The results of the clinical study revealed decreases in triglycerides
and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) - which is considered
as bad cholesterol, among the VCO takers. The VCO takers had
no change in their low density lipoprotein (LDL); they showed
elevated high density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol.
Medical doctors and scientists have indicated that high VLDL
and LDL (bad cholesterol) could lead to plaque formation in
the inner lining of the arteries that blocks the free circulation
of blood in the heart and to the brain. When the arteries
are clogged-up, there is a high risk of heart attack and stroke.
The UST Team of medical doctors and scientists indicated that
the improved cholesterol to HDL ratio can mean that the individuals
are less prone to heart attack or stroke. Aside from the effects
on the lipid profile, the scientists also reported that the
VCO takers had regular bowel movement, increased appetite
and stamina, and better sleep.
Similar studies have also been done in India and Sri Lanka.
We can therefore say that there is now strong proof to disprove
the allegations about coconut oil consumption and its relation
to enhancing the risk of coronary artery disease. The Bio-Chemistry
Department of the University of Kerala has undertaken a similar
study in 1995 among human subjects under free living conditions.
Dr. T. Rajamohan, et. al. conducted the study on 64 volunteers
and revealed that consumption of coconut oil did not elevate
total cholesterol nor did it reduce HDL, the good cholesterol,
but showed lower triglycerides.
In 2010, the Department of Cardiology and the Department of
Biochemistry of the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences,
Kochi, India has also undertaken a study on the Lipid Profile
in Blood and in Plaque Material for Diseased Coronary Artery.
This study was led by Dr. D.M. Vasudevan, MD., FRC Path. and
was supported by the Coconut Development Board of India. Their
findings have shown that coconut oil is neutral with respect
to atherogenicity (plaque formation). They concluded that
the consumption of coconut oil, as a part of the routine diet,
many not contribute to the risk for coronary artery disease.
Based on these studies, we believe that the Philippine Coconut
Authority has adequate science-based evidence to push for
a certified health claim for Virgin Coconut Oil. The PCA Administrator,
Atty. Euclides G. Forbes has said in a statement that producers
can put in their VCO product labels the phrase “increases
good cholesterol” once the necessary changes in the
Philippine National Standard of VCO are made and after the
Bureau of Product Standards, and the Food and Drug Administration
We concur with the Philippine Coconut Authority that this
move should boost and further promote the local demand and
export market of VCO and VCO-based products.